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The Book Stash Adventures — Part 3 | Read Part 1, Part 2

Actually the first one is not really the kind of book that will make you gush and drool. As I already mentioned it previously, the title is A New Kind of Conversation: Blogging toward a Postmodern Faith (edited by Myron Bradley Penner & Hunter Barnes, Authentic Publishing, Colorado Springs, 2006). It’s a bit of a novelty for me, despite my familiarity with both postmodernism and blogging. In fact, the only recognizable name for me in the data about the book is one of the contributors: Brian McLaren, the well-known Evangelical author, speaker, and pastor.

Of course its subject matter is of interest to me, being a youth ministry professor and blogger myself. And the specific topic of blogging, precisely, is what makes the book unique. It is the very format and methodology itself of this book. Borrowed across a different milieu (the digital world), it is now applied in the traditional publishing format. Blogging has been unfortunately given a bad name recently here in the Philippines (no thanks to a controversial cabinet member). But the whole thing only goes to show that this nascent endeavor is still evolving into something more in the near future.

We don’t know yet what exactly as of now, but the evolution is sure. It is in fact already consistently taking place. Twitter, for example, may be considered as a form of microblogging (with its 140-character limit). Also, many nowadays are into vlogging (yes, with the letter v — as in video-blogging). Here, the dominant medium is not so much writing but rather shooting videos and incorporating them as the blog entry itself. Whatever it will be, we eagerly and vigilantly await the results and consequences of the twists and turns presently taking place.

Meanwhile, let me just add that this book on blogging and postmodernism is by no means the only prized find I have in my “Book Stash Adventures.” I also spotted a book (to be exact, a college textbook) on cultural anthropology: Introducing Cultural Anthropology by Roberta Edward Lenkeit (4th edition, The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., 2009). It will surely come in handy for the course I’ll be teaching soon (next semester, in Don Bosco Center of Studies — on the Sociology of Youth, and Youth Culture). It is also now feeding me with lots of ideas, if ever my dream comes true of editing and publishing a book of my own. That book, incidentally, will be a youth ministry textbook and reader. This book I found can serve as a good example or model.

And last (but by no means the least), there’s also a slim volume (a paperback) of T. S. Eliot’s masterpiece, Murder in the Cathedral (Harcourt Brace & Company, San Diego, 1935). It’s his best-known drama, based on the murder and martyrdom of the Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Becket in 1170. In a time of intense violence, political expediency, and unbridled persecution against the Catholic Church (in several places, but also here in the Philippines), this classic retains its relevance and timeliness. Suffice it for me to share here (as a bonus!) an excerpt of Eliot’s crisp and intense poetry —

Unbar the doors! throw open the doors!
I will not have the house of prayer, the church of Christ,
The sanctuary, turned into a fortress.
The Church shall protect her own, in her own way, not
As oak and stone; stone and oak decay,
Give no stay, but the Church shall endure.
The church shall be open even to our enemies. Open the door!

The above lines are words of Archbishop Becket. The suspenseful context is his adamant protesting against his priests, who wanted to spare him his death by availing of the sanctuary provided by his cathedral church. Becket would have none of it. “Open the door!” With the entrance of the knights sent to kill him, his fate was sealed.

This makes me gush and drool. We can surely unearth useful wisdom from old books, which perhaps hardly anyone pays attention to anymore. And yet it is a timeless wisdom, wrapped in words of powerful drama. You bump into it from some old book in an old library, to your great surprise.

 
MartYM or Fr. Martin Macasaet, SDB, SThD is a professor of Youth Ministry. He received his Doctorate in Sacred Theology from the Salesian Pontifical University in Rome.

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